Dear Annie: I’ve been studying abroad in Rome for the past three months. I head back to America in a few weeks. I can honestly say I haven’t missed being home. I’ve absolutely loved my stay in Europe. I feel safe and happy.
The one thing I’m dreading is reverse culture shock. I’m afraid I’ll resent my small-town college or that I’ll become depressed when I get home.
All of my friends will have left for their own study-abroad adventures. No one will be able to speak the Italian I’ve learned and help me maintain my fluency.
The foods and pastimes that I’ve become fond of are nonexistent in America.
My European friends say I should just enjoy the little time I have left abroad and keep positive thoughts when I’m back in America, but I don’t expect my reimmersion process to be that easy.
How can I learn to stop living like a dead man walking and not fall into a pit of despair once I board the plane "home"? -- Pining for Rome
You will miss your Italian friends and Italian pasta, but try not to over-romanticize the experience. Accept it for the short-term fun it was, and know that you can certainly return whenever you can afford to do so. How well you adjust depends entirely on your attitude. Be determined to make it as positive as possible.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to an firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.Please recognize how fortunate you are to have had the opportunity to spend time in Europe and the fact that you’ve enjoyed it so much.